Haiti: Canada sends armored vehicles amid violence

A shipment of armored vehicles from Canada and the US arrived in Haiti on Saturday as violence raged in the country, but some experts are questioning Canada’s decision to intervene.

The coordinated shipment was planned under a joint operation with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force. Global Affairs Canada released a statement on Saturday night confirming the joint transfer of armored vehicles from the Canadian and US militaries to Haiti.

“Today, Canadian and US military aircraft arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to deliver key security equipment purchased by the Haitian government, including tactical and armored vehicles, and supplies to the Director General of the Haitian National Police (HNP),” the statement read.

A statement released by Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Defense Minister Anita Anand said the device was intended to help the Haitian National Police combat violence implied by “criminal elements”.

There is growing concern for a country whose president was assassinated last year, which is experiencing an ongoing cholera epidemic and sexual violence against women, children and men by gangs. party. The Haitian government has also urged countries such as Canada and the United States to provide security assistance.

The federal government said Canada will work with other international partners to help Haitian law enforcement in training more police officers. The statement does not include if any additional police tools such as firearms and bulletproof vests are included in the shipment. Canadian Ambassador to Haiti Sebastien Carriere also said on Twitter they will not disclose the number or model of the vehicle to avoid disclosing information to domestic gangs.

While Canada has pledged financial support in recent months to Haiti, experts and activists who have closely followed events in the country over the past two decades say Haiti needs to be left alone.

“We keep saying what we’ve been saying for a long time, let Haiti decide its own destiny,” former Canadian ambassador to Haiti Gilles Rivard told CTV News in an interview.

Rivard, who served as ambassador from 2008 to 2010 and then 2014, said that Canada should not interfere in Haitian affairs until the country can reach an agreement between society and the government to conduct an election and strengthen a government.

“Where do you start and where do you end up? Until there is no roadmap to put that country on the right track towards the political structure”? he say. “There is still a lot of work to be done but the first part has to come from Haiti in my opinion.”

Haitian-Canadian activist Jean Saint-Vil says Haitian people feel the same way.

“Get out. Haitians have told Canada, the United States, Europe to get out,” he told CTV News in an interview.

Saint-Vil said that instead, there should be reparations for the country starting with the United Nations’ involvement in the cholera outbreak. In 2013, the United Nations denied claims that its peacekeepers had brought cholera to the country during recovery efforts from the 2010 earthquake. The UN did not say it started the pandemic but they acknowledged their involvement in 2016 after a report by a UN investigator was leaked.

Since 2010, cholera outbreaks have killed nearly 10,000 people on the island, according to the World Health Organization.

“The reason why they support this right now is to pretend that this is a humanitarian intervention,” he said.

In a tweet Following the announcement of the new shipment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated Canada’s commitment to supporting Haitian law enforcement.

“Our two countries remain committed to supporting the Haitian National Police in protecting and serving the people of Haiti. And together, we will continue to assist in restoring security in Haiti,” he said.


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